BOSTON (CBS) — The hard work and reliability of Bruins captain Zdeno Chara can often go overlooked locally, as the team rides its usual ups and downs of a long and difficult season. It’s interesting, then, to get the occasional outside perspective on the local players and see how they’re viewed nationally.

And in the case of Zdeno Chara, experts believe he is the very best in the business.

As part of its 8 Debate series, listed the league’s best defensemen, and Chara ranked at the top of the list.

Ten and NHL Network experts were polled, and five voted Chara as the best. Overall, he had 71 points, eight more than Shea Weber, who ranked second.

“The Norris Trophy winner in 2009, he’s a matchup problem for opposing coaches because Boston’s Claude Julien has no problem letting him play half the game,” Corey Massiak wrote on “Chara is basically the NHL’s version of a shutdown cornerback who takes away one side of the playing surface.”

The rest of the list, in order, is Weber, Erik Karlsson, Alex Pietrangelo, Duncan Keith, Drew Doughty, Kris Letang and Ryan Suter.

Patrice Bergeron received a vote in’s list of top centers but didn’t make the top eight, while Milan Lucic received the most votes outside of the top eight left wingers.


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